Friday, November 30, 2007

It’s a Wonderful *Lie*

Here’s little pop quiz. Which of the following three Christmas pop culture sayings contains the absolute truth?

#1
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

#2
You better watch out, you better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

#3
Long time ago, in Bethlehem
So the Holy Bible say
Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ
Was born on Christmas Day

If you answered “none of the above,” then you can skip this article, as I suspect you already know what I’m proposing here. If you answered either #1 or #2, you need more help than I can offer you. However, if you believe, as the majority of American society does, that Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day, read on. I may be able to enlighten you a bit.

Does the Holy Bible really say that Jesus was born on Christmas Day? If you think so, please email me the book, chapter, and verse where this is stated. (mike@mikesoutherland.com). I know for a fact that the date of Christ’s birth is never given in the scriptures. However, there is a way we can know *for sure* when Christ’s birth did *not* occur. In Luke 2 verse 8, we read the following:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
(Luk 2:8)


It is well known that shepherds in Israel brought their flocks in from the fields sometime in October and did not take them back out until March due to the frigid temperatures. Therefore, though we can’t know the date of Christ’s birth, we can say with a certainty that it was not December 25.

So, why December 25? That may be a good topic for another blog entry, but the short answer is that this is the date for the winter solstice. When the Roman church desired to “win converts” among the pagans, they decided that a good tactic was to dress up their existing holidays in Christian garb and allow them to continue. That’s exactly what we see happening with Christmas, Halloween, and Easter.

But to return to the original purpose of this article: Should we continue in promoting a lie as we celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25?

Step back for a moment and imagine yourself as a non-Christian (if indeed you are a Christian). First, you have someone explain to you that their God is a man who was born of a virgin. This is impossible in nature. Next, this same God-Man grows up and is violently murdered. But three days later He rises from the dead. At this point, you are thinking: Surely this is a myth because these things *don’t* happen. Your friend is assuring you that God’s Word is true and it can be trusted. Later that year in December, you see your friend commemorating Christ’s birth. When you ask him where that is found in the Bible, he opens to the book of Luke. However, in searching through Luke, you never find the date given. In fact, the date is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Yet your friend hangs on to his “traditions” regardless of its status as a myth. It could be that your friend even tells his children of a man in a red suit that comes down the chimney bearing gifts. At this point you, as an unbeliever, relegate all your friend’s stories to the category of fairy tales…virgin birth, resurrection, Santa Claus…they all look the same. Your friend has failed to uphold the truth of the Gospel through his vain imaginations.

Dear Christian: Is your Gospel message intermingled with lies? Could it be that God did not give us the date of Christ’s birth for the very same reason we are never given a picture of Him? God has ordained the means with which we are to worship Him. Annual observances of His birth are nowhere commanded. Just as we are not to worship a supposed image of Christ, we are not to commemorate a supposed date of His birth.

2 comments:

Karen said...

I agree there is nowhere that commemorating Jesus birth is commanded, but it also is not commanded to NOT commemorate it, right?

Would this not fall into a category like driving a car to church? The Bible does not say anything about driving a car or not driving a car...just assembling ourselves together as believers.

When I talk about celebrating Christmas I am talking about celbrating the Savior not Santa Claus, etc... if this makes any difference in what I am asking.

Mike Southerland said...

Again, we must return to the Word of God as our only guide for worship.

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
(Lev 10:1-2)

The scripture declares that Nadab and Abihu in offering their strange fire did not violate a prohibition given in scripture. Rather they took the initiative to do something that God had not commanded as an act of worship.This is much different than how you get to Church. Now if somehow you attach some special significance to the act of riding in a car; if your riding in a car somehow translates into "putting on holy garments" or some such other act of worship, then suddenly the question of whether you ride in a car or not becomes pertinent. Case in point:

And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which was at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments made of fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
(2Sa 6:3-7)

In this case, God had already ordained the means of transportation of the Ark of God. It was to be carried by the priests of Levi with the golden bars that had been designed by God Himself.

I maintain that the celebration of Christmas is, by its very definition, an act of worship. In our society that worship is carried out by churches and individuals (and even arguably by the state). In 2006 when I wrote my first article, I had already become convinced that it was inappropriate for a Church to condone this extra-biblical worship within the context of the meeting of the Church. Yet at that time I did not see a problem with an individual continuing in this private act of worship. Later, I have begun to realize that an individual can violate the Regulative Principle of Worship just as a corporate Church can. The only difference is that the responsible party has changed. Church elders will answer for what they allow in the meeting of the Church that they lead. Husbands and fathers will answer for what they allow in their homes.